If there were ever a source of green energy that lives up to its name, it’s energy made from grass. According to sciencedaily.com, UK researchers have discovered that with a little sunlight and a catalyst, fescue grass can produce a significant amount of hydrogen. This is the first time this method has been discovered and could lead to a brand new source of hydrogen-powered energy.
“Hydrogen is seen as an important future energy carrier as the world moves from fossil fuels to renewable feedstocks, and our research has shown that even garden grass could be a good way of getting hold of it,” says Professor Michael Bowker of Cardiff University’s Cardiff Catalysis Institute.
Even though hydrogen can be found in a wide variety of sources, the biggest challenge for scientists is finding an easy and affordable way to convert it into energy. Cellulose is a promising source of hydrogen and since fescue grass is rich in it, it only takes a little time and minimal resources to convert it into energy.
The conversion process is called photocatalysis and hasn’t been extensively studied, so it took several experiments by researchers to discover the potential behind the grass. After combining metal-based catalysts with sunlight and cellulose, they collected the gas from the mixture to discover the amount of hydrogen in it.
“…we’ve demonstrated the effectiveness of the process using real grass taken from a garden,” says Bowker. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that this kind of raw biomass has been used to produce hydrogen in this way. This is significant as it avoids the need to separate and purify cellulose from a sample, which can be both arduous and costly.”
If testing continues to be positive, we may see grass as a green source of energy in the future.